Australian Reptiles, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 7

Ornate Dragon

Ornate Dragon Ctenophorus ornatus Boyagin Nature Reserve Western Australia

Over the past few weeks I have not only been looking for Western Brush Wallaby (Macropus irma), as mentioned in my previous post, but also for the Banded Anteater or Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus). This carnivorous marsupial has featured on my bucket list for quite a while now, and several trips have been made to Boyagin Nature Reserve to find it. Located in the Wandoo woodlands of Western Australia’s wheatbelt, Boyagin is one of the few places where Numbats can be found, as a once thriving population has been dramatically reduced due to land clearing and predation by feral cats and foxes.

The translocated Boyagin population has been estimated at 50-100 animals, but as their home range is around 50 hectares, chances of casual sightings are not that high. Although my patience and luck are still tested as far as Numbats go, Boyagin is a beautiful reserve to explore with plenty of other interesting animals and plants to discover. The huge undisturbed granite outcrop that lends its name to the reserve is a prime habitat for the Ornate Dragon or Ornate Crevice-Dragon (Ctenophorus ornatus), where it can be found basking on warm slabs of granite. To take decent photos it is essential to thread lightly as not to disturb these fellas with a sudden approach, because in case of imminent danger this dragon will hide its relatively flat body in impossible narrow crevices.

Ornate Dragon Ctenophorus ornatus Boyagin Nature Reserve Western Australia

Male Ornate Rock Dragon (Ctenophorus ornatus) displaying typical brights colour and banded tail


    • I wouldn’t fear his bite Janet, these guys only grow to around 30cm. But the bite of a Goanna is a different story altogether, as they are equipped with some pretty sharp teeth and claws.

  1. He certainly deserves his moniker! Are the juveniles even more brightly coloured, Maurice? Many reptiles become “dull” with age, and I wonder whether that might be the case with this species too?

    • Not that I’m aware of Dries; males are definitely brighter than females, and there are some regional differences as well, with the southern populations displaying darker colours than the ones from northern areas – these often display more rusty colours.

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